Participant Sports in Baltimore
Due to the lack of street-side paths and angry motorists, exploring inner city Baltimore on two wheels is a bad idea. But the city's most defined network of bicycling paths is the Gwynns Falls Trail, which connects 2,000 acres of public land in and around Baltimore. The trail, which was completed in the past couple of years, stretches for about 15 mi. Maps are available atwww.gwynnsfallstrail.org. Or you could head to one of the city's parks or out of town to dedicated cycling trails.
Bikes can be rented from Light Street Cycles; ask for a map of local trails. 1015 Light St., Federal Hill, Baltimore, MD, 21230. 410/685-2234.
Just south of the city is the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail; to get on the trail near BWI airport, follow I–695 to I–97 south, take Exit 15 onto Dorsey Road, heading west away from the airport. Look for signs for Saw Mill Creek Park, which has 13 mi of paved trails, open space, bridges, and woodlands. Baltimore, MD. 410/222–6244.
North of the city, the 21-mi Northern Central Railroad Hike and Bike Trail extends along the old Northern Central Railroad to the Maryland–Pennsylvania line. It begins at Ashland Road, just east of York Road in Hunt Valley, and heads north 20 mi to the Pennsylvania border. Parking is available at seven points along the way. Baltimore, MD. 410/592–2897. www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/central/gunpowder.html.
The Baltimore Sun's golf guide gives a detailed and thorough overview of local courses. Baltimore, MD. www.baltimoresun.com/golfguide.
Public Forest Park has 18 challenging holes (par 71), with a tight, tree-lined front 9 and open back 9. Greens fees are $30 weekdays and $33 on weekends; reservations are accepted. 2900 Hillsdale Rd., North Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, 21207. 410/448-4653.
Designed in 1936, Mount Pleasant was for many years the site of the Eastern Open. It has 18 holes of par-71 golf on bent grass. Greens fees are $36 on weekdays and $42 on weekends. 6001 Hillen Rd., North Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, 21239. 410/254-5100.
Health and Fitness Clubs
A few clubs offer temporary membership to visitors. Your hotel may provide this as a courtesy, so ask the concierge. Among hotels, the Harbor Court has by far the best athletic facilities.
Scenic places to run around the Inner Harbor include the promenade around the water; Rash Field, on the south side, adjacent to the Science Center and Federal Hill Park; and the path at the water's edge at Fort McHenry. If you're staying in Mount Vernon, head north up Charles Street toward Charles Village and Johns Hopkins University.
Courts can be found in the city's public parks, though if you're a serious player, you may be better off using hotel courts or tennis clubs.
Open year-round, the Cross Keys Tennis Club has courts available for $27–$37 per hour. 5100 Falls Rd., Roland Park, Baltimore, MD, 21210. 410/433–1800.
Druid Hill Park has 24 courts. Druid Hill Lake Dr., West Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, 21217. 410/396-6106.
The courts at the Orchard Indoor Tennis Club are available to nonmembers for $25 per hour. 8720 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson, Baltimore, MD, 21286. 410/821-6206.
Patterson Park has 10 courts. Eastern Ave., East Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, 21224. 410/396-3774.
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